If the Washington Redskins win their final two games, they have a chance of hosting one -- maybe even two -- playoff games at RFK Stadium.
To host at least one game on Jan. 9 or 10, the Redskins (10-3) would need to win at Miami on Sunday and at Minnesota the following Saturday and then hope that Chicago (10-3) loses one of its final games to either Seattle at home or at the Los Angeles Raiders.
The Bears would then finish a game behind the Redskins. But if the Bears and Redskins tied, the Bears would gain home-field advantage by virtue of a better conference record.
Even if the Bears win their final two games, the Redskins can still host a playoff game if they win their last two, the New Orleans Saints win their last two and San Francisco loses one of its last two.
That way, the Saints, Redskins, 49ers and Bears would have 12-3 records. The Saints would win the West Division ahead of the 49ers, by virtue of a better division record, and the Redskins would win the home-field tie breaker with the Saints by virtue of a better conference record. The 49ers would then be a wild card, and the Bears would have home-field advantage for the playoffs, by virtue of a better conference record than the Redskins. But if the Bears lose just one game, then the Redskins would get home-field advantage for the playoffs in this instance.
The 49ers (11-2) hold a tie breaker advantage over both the Redskins and Bears, yet could lose their division to the Saints and never host a playoff game. The Saints finish the season with games at Cincinnati and at home against Green Bay, while the 49ers finish with home games against Atlanta and the Los Angeles Rams.
The Redskins can even host a playoff game if they lose Sunday to Miami. They then would have to defeat Minnesota to finish 11-4 and would need both the Saints and 49ers to finish 11-4. The Saints would win the West; the 49ers would be a wild card and the Redskins would win the tie breaker with the Saints (better conference mark).
The Redskins can host the NFC Championship game on Jan. 17 if they win their divisional playoff game and the wild-card game winner wins the other divisional playoff game.
The AFC is far more muddled. All five AFC East teams are still in playoff contention, and within a game of each other. Cleveland and Pittsburgh are tied for the AFC Central lead with 8-5 records, followed by Houston at 7-6. And Denver, at 8-4-1, has a slim advantage over San Diego and Seattle at 8-5 in the West. Thus, the number of playoff possibilities is staggering.